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Grading Raiders’ loss to Buccaneers


As fancy and wide open and creative as offenses have become, one thing remains clear: Can’t run, usually don’t win. You know it’s a bad week when quarterback Derek Carr is your second-leading rusher … with 19 yards. The Raiders had 24 rushes for 76 yards against the NFL’s best run defense. Josh Jacobs was held to 17 yards on 10 carries. For as much news as he has made off the field, Trent Brown remains a valuable piece of this unit. And when the right tackle is out, as he was Sunday after a positive COVID-19 test, it shows. Carr was sacked three times and hit another five. The patchwork group in front of him — made thinner when guard Gabe Jackson was ejected with 4:15 left in the third quarter for stepping on an opposing player’s shoulder — offered a strong effort but struggled to keep up. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor (5-107-1) continues to shine as a productive free agent signing.


The pressure that was so apparent in the second half of an upset win at Kansas City before the bye week disappeared. You have a better chance of partying harder than Rob Gronkowski than you do stopping Tom Brady when his jersey remains clean. The Raiders never sacked the 43-year-old quarterback and registered just one hit (Maurice Hurst) on him. Starting strong safety Johnathan Abram (COVID-19 list) didn’t play for Las Vegas, but his replacement, Jeff Heath, had six tackles. Tampa Bay rolled up 454 total yards, 369 through the air. Brady completed 33 of 45 passes with four scores. Second-year cornerback Trayvon Mullen had team highs in tackles (eight) and passes defended (two) for the Raiders. Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden hinted afterward at change on this side of the ball, but whether that’s in regard to personnel or even on his staff is unknown.


When it was still very much a game, the Raiders pulled off a fake punt via Heath that led to a field goal. Daniel Carlson made field goals of 36 and 42 yards, and AJ Cole averaged 40.3 yards on three punts. Not much else doing here in a 25-point final margin.


The Raiders haven’t been sharp after bye weeks dating back years — they last won such a matchup in 2016 against the Houston Texans — and there was enough sloppiness here to continue the trend. You can only do so much as a staff without a healthy offensive line against a defense as good as Tampa Bay’s. It would have been nice to see Gruden go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Tampa Bay 17 in a one-possession game with 12:48 remaining. Instead, he sent out Carlson and cut a seven-point deficit to four. Tampa Bay scored the next 21 points to make the rout official.

Ed Graney Review-Journal

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